Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Future flooding disasters to be averted by maths

28.09.2006
Oxford researchers have won funding to improve the usefulness of weather predictions regarding the probability and extent of extreme rainfall. This will help hydrologists, civil engineers, policy-makers and government to take appropriate measures to protect buildings and people from the devastating effects of extreme floods such that in Boscastle, Cornwall, 2004.

The new £300,000 research project at Oxford University is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

'What we are doing is bringing together, for the first time, three different areas of science: mathematics, supercomputer weather prediction, and historical data’, Dr Patrick McSharry at Oxford University's Department of Engineering Science said.

‘We are using advanced mathematical techniques which were originally developed for a different application. This helps us to improve the predictions we can make based on data that has already been collected. To do this we are using the vast computing power provided by new weather models. For example, there is a limit to the accuracy of data collection and tiny measurement errors can lead to increasing forecast uncertainty as you look further into the future.

'So if we can improve the mathematics to handle the uncertainty in the data and models, we can improve the accuracy of the predictions for people such as engineers and policy-makers.'

The new mathematical prediction techniques to be used in the study will be developed in collaboration with researchers at the Said Business School, who were originally looking to improve models for forecasting electricity demand.

The techniques will be used in conjunction with the output from a state-of-the-art supercomputer weather model at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

The data, on which the work will be based, will come from the largest record of historical data of UK rainfall patterns, which date back as far as 1860 when weather records were produced by amateur enthusiasts. It will be the first time that researchers will have access to this vast amount of data in electronic format. It will be made available by a specialist hydrologist at Hydro-GIS Ltd.

Dr Harvey Rodda, of Hydro-GIS said: ‘Accurate rainfall predictions are needed as part of the information used to design measures to protect houses built in areas which are most vulnerable to flooding. The connection between rain and flooding is complicated. It is not enough just to predict rainfall depth, but prediction must also say how likely rain is at any time, which means calculating the probability of rainfall. Another element is the pattern of rainfall – for example, for the severe floods in Boscastle in 2004 and those on the Thames in 2003, the causes and pattern of rainfall was different, so scientists need to know what pattern of rainfall caused the flooding.’

The research will also produce an automatic system for discovering the most likely pattern in the predicted rainfalls. The new prediction system and data will be freely available over the internet for use by hydrologists, civil engineers, government policy-makers and researchers.

Barbara Hott | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ox.ac.uk
http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/samp/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>